Mid-season MVP Candidates

I separated the players I think have a real chance of winning this year’s MVP into a few categories based on how they are doing so far and what they have the potential to finish the year doing. I have a personal gripe against the NFL for literally only rewarding Quarterbacks for being the MVP every season. Obviously, quarterback is the most important position, and they are usually the best player that season but running backs and other skill positions get so easily overlooked and I think they deserve their respect.

This category is players who I think had a real chance at it and lost it due to injury or their chances have declined for several reasons (decline in production, not being a quarterback, etc.). Derrick Henry is the obvious one that comes to mind for players who lost their chance this season. His foot needs surgery so he won’t be able to break any records. He had a great pace to break Eric Dickerson’s season rushing yardage record, especially with the 18 week season. He was my preseason pick for a non-QB most valuable player and was playing out of his mind. Sad times, he should be back by the end of the year/playoffs time though.

Justin Herbert was a lot of people’s early choice to be the best quarterback in the league this season. This very well could still be possible. However, the Chargers have had some struggles this season with teams we would expect them to beat. I think it’s fair to say that they aren’t the team to dominate a game and win by 20+ points. The second half of the season is where Herbert needs to ball out to make a late case for MVP. It starts with the Eagles this week, a game they should handle with little trouble. For the final 9 regular season games the Chargers have this year, Herbert needs a few things to happen: starting by the necessity for him to be absolutely slinging it ending as a top 3 in passing yards and touchdowns as well as at least 10 wins + playoffs for it to be realistic. The Raiders are currently the top in the AFC West with them and without them cooling off on top of everything else, Herbert’s chances are minimal.

Trevon Diggs is the other guy I have here. He still has the potential to get back into my realistic candidates. He is without a doubt the best Defensive back in football and arguably the best overall defensive player right now. Not only is he not a quarterback but he isn’t even an offensive player, so this is pretty much just me giving credit where credit is due. He has an interception in almost every game he plays on average. If he heats up and is fully healthy the rest of the season, breaks the season interceptions record (14) then I can see him being in a serious conversation for MVP. That is a huge stretch to predict though.

Legit Contenders:
These players are the front runners for MVP and barring a second half fall off, it will be one of these guys. 

Josh Allen is the first player I want to talk about. He was my preseason MVP for the QB position. I still think the Bills are quite possibly the best team in the league and could win or at least make the Super Bowl. I can’t think of anything Josh Allen can’t do better than or as good as any other quarterback in the NFL. He has an absolute cannon and can make wow-plays with his legs at any given moment. The Bills have other good players surrounding him like Stefon Diggs and Singletary but for the large majority it is unarguably Josh Allen putting them in winning situations.

Tom Brady has once again made this season one of his best. He had his best game of his career (statistically) in Week 4 against the Dolphins at age FORTY-FOUR (44). How that is possible, I do not know. It’s impossible not to root for this kind of stuff anymore as a football fan of any length. I don’t think it would surprise anyone to see him lead the Bucs deep into the playoffs if not win the whole thing for the second consecutive year. An obvious candidate for the best player in the league this season. He makes everyone around him better.

Kyler Murray has been able to take his team to a 7-1 start this season and was the last undefeated team before last week. It’s hard to argue he shouldn’t be on this list. While he plays the game like it is a real life version of Madden, it works, and at its core-that’s what it is. He scrambles and sometimes looks like a complete spaz when he is trying to make a play, but 2,276 yards and 17 touchdowns don’t lie. He is going to surpass his season bests in both yards and touchdown passes within the next few games already (should he stay healthy) and the Cardinals have an endless supply of weapons on offense and defense. 

Matthew Stafford is having the season of his life with his second chance as a winning quarterback in LA. I almost forgot to put him on this list because the Rams are so good that they somehow still fly under the radar in my mind. The connection he has with Cooper Kupp is as good as any other QB-WR combo in the league. He also has revamped Robert Woods’ career. Woods was never not good, but Stafford definitely gives him the ball more than he has in the past and allows his full skillset to flourish. Stafford has always been a gunslinging quarterback and has another cannon of an arm. The Rams are a powerhouse in the NFL, and I think the football community would be delighted to see Matt Stafford get his long-awaited MVP and even a Super Bowl appearance if not a win.

By creeping, I mean not talked about as much in the main conversation as the legit contenders but probably should be, just lurking right under those guys. These players probably aren’t surprises but their teams are still performing well and without these guys, they would not be in the positions they are. One of them isn’t playing this week and we’ll see how well they fair against a team who is desperate to start winning games. 

Before that player, I want to put Lamar Jackson on this list. The Ravens have maintained their status as one of the best teams in the AFC and the most consistent leader of the best division in football, the AFC North, all thanks to Lamar. His accuracy has improved every season and his work on the ground still holds true as well. He may not be having his best season on the stat sheet so far, but I have no doubt if he wasn’t at quarterback of this team, the Baltimore Ravens would not even have a winning record. A game changer through and through, I hope the rest of his season ramps up and he can be back in the MVP conversation and even a super bowl contender again.

Everyone can agree that in no way is Aaron Rodgers having a bad season. But I haven’t heard much talk at all in the MVP race until the last few weeks. He is the absolute sole reason the Packers are where they are. With all his top receivers out versus the Arizona Cardinals, he quarterbacked Green Bay to a great win to end the Cardinals undefeated season. This week they play the struggling Chiefs in Kansas City and Rodgers has covid so he’s out for the game and Jordan Love is taking his place. This will be the ultimate testament to how valuable he is to their team’s success. The Packers, once again, have a strong foundation to win a championship this season which would only strengthen the case for Rodgers being the Most Valuable Player for the best team in the league this year. 

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are hot this year and I hate that there is no denying their dominance so far. Their offense has such great firepower and they can beat you on the ground and through the air and even just on defense. Dak is the clear reason for their offensive success though, coming off such a gnarly injury he is probably the favorite for Comeback Player of the Year. Dependent on how they end the regular season and the playoffs, Dak could prove he’s worthy of an MVP trophy at this point in his career. As long as he remains healthy the rest of the season, he should creep his way into the serious conversation.

            If this season’s MVP is someone not listed here, then I vow to all bodily hair on my body waxed off and a tattoo of their face.

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